Barnhourie Mill 272

Sandyhills, Scotland

Brief Description

The mid-20th-century garden at Barnhourie Mill was created in a woodland setting with a burn running through it. The garden features dwarf species rhododendrons, many planted in island beds with natural rocky outcrops. In addition to the noted rhododendron collection there are many other ornamental trees and shrubs in the garden.

History

The Mill and Miller's House are thought to date from the 17th century. When Dr Paton and Miss King bought the property in 1959 the garden was overgrown. The new garden was laid out in the early-1960s and has been developed continuously since then.

Detailed Description

The following is from the Historic Environment Scotland Gardens and Designed Landscapes Inventory. For the most up-to-date Inventory entry, please visit the Historic Environment Scotland website:

http://portal.historic-scotland.gov.uk/hes/web/f?p=PORTAL:DESIGNATIONS:0

Type of Site

A garden created since the early 1960s, within a pre-existing woodland structure. A footpath leads from The Miller's Garden, adjacent to the house with lawn, enclosed by beds of dwarf conifers, small-scale shrubs and herbaceous plants, to different areas where trees and shrubs have been carefully grouped together for their flower, foliage, form and texture.

Location and Setting

Barnhourie Mill is situated on the A710 in the hamlet of Sandyhills within 0.3 miles (0.5km) of the Solway coast, some 6 miles (10km) south-east of the town of Dalbeattie. The B794 forms the eastern boundary of the site cutting through a valley between Fairgirth Hill to the north-east and the hills of the Dalbeattie Forest to the north-west to link Sandyhills with Dalbeattie. The Fairgirth Burn flows parallel with this road along the eastern edge of the site.

The surrounding landscape is open moorland and forestry. There is a new chalet development to the north-east, on the edge of the B794. The site lies within the National Scenic Area of the East Stewartry Coast. Views out and into the site from the B794 are restricted by the deciduous woodland which lies between the Fairgirth Burn and the B794 which is of some significance in the local landscape. Soil conditions within the garden are light and acid, with many outcrops of granite appearing.

Barnhourie Mill and Miller's House are approached by a drive off the A710. The woodlands and garden, which extend over approximately 9 acres (3.5ha), lie to the north of the buildings. The Fairgirth Burn has been incorporated into the design.

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

Barnhourie Mill, listed category B, is a two-storey building, oblong on plan. A waterwheel is incorporated within the north-east gable wall. The mill was last used in 1910 but the gearing survives and is in reasonable condition. Much of it is of wooden construction. The Miller's Cottage is thought to date from c.1700. It has been converted for use as the residence of the owners.

Woodland

There are two main areas of woodland. The oldest lies along the eastern boundary and is composed largely of alder species, with some oak and hazel. Reference to the 1st & 2nd edition OS maps shows that woodland was established here in the 19th century but many of the trees are much younger. The burn which flows through the woodland spates readily and understorey planting is avoided, but a dense carpet of wild flowers is established.

On the western boundary of the garden, near the mill pond, Sitka spruce and other conifers have been established since 1962 for shelter. Both this area and that around the burn are reptile and bird sanctuaries with some 83 bird species having been recorded here. Red squirrels are seen here and other visitors include a fox and several types of dragonfly. Pipistrelle bats are resident.

The Gardens

The garden lies to the north of the Miller's House and is divided into named areas by the owners. The Miller's Garden is situated adjacent to the house and is largely lawn, enclosed by beds of dwarf conifers, small-scale shrubs and herbaceous plants. A footpath leads from it through the different areas. Within each, trees and shrubs have been carefully grouped together for their flower, foliage, form and texture. One of the most impressive plants in the garden is a 40 year old specimen of Abies koreana which forms a perfect equilateral triangle when seen in elevation. Some large-leaved Rhododendrons are grown; among them, R. concatenans, and R. campanulatum aeruginosum, which came from Sir Herbert Maxwell's garden at Monreith, Wigtownshire. Other plants are grown in the garden to provide interest beyond April-June. These include Berberis, Cornus, Phyllodoces, Viburnums, Prunus and Kalmia, as well as gentians, including G. asclepiadea and G. sinov- ornata.

The dwarf Rhododendron collection is grouped around a number of knolls in the centre of the garden which are characterised by rocky outcrops. Of particular note are R. repens, R. apodectum Red Form, R. tsariense, and R. recurvoides. They are only a few of some 250 or so varieties grown in the garden which form one of the finest collections of dwarf Rhododendrons in the country.

Features

Plant Environment

  • Woodland Garden
  • Environment
History

Detailed History

The following is from the Historic Environment Scotland Gardens and Designed Landscapes Inventory. For the most up-to-date Inventory entry, please visit the Historic Environment Scotland website:

http://portal.historic-scotland.gov.uk/hes/web/f?p=PORTAL:DESIGNATIONS:0

Reason for Inclusion

A valuable collection of mainly dwarf species Rhododendrons, started in 1960 and grown in an attractive woodland garden setting. The burn and natural rock strata, combined with the other trees, shrubs and plants, make this a very attractive small garden.

Main Phases of Landscape Development

Early 1960s.

Site History

Barnhourie Mill and Miller's House are thought to date from the 17th century. Documentary evidence of the development of the designed landscape is confined to the 1st edition OS map of c.1850 and the 2nd edition OS map of c.1900. Reference to both maps indicates the presence of an established woodland canopy on the site.

The property was purchased in 1959 by Miss E.M.H. King and Dr M.R. Paton. Both are experienced plant growers who had gardened at Barnbarroch, some 3.5 miles (6km) to the west, prior to purchasing Barnhourie Mill. The mill garden was at that time totally overgrown and two year's work was required to clear it. The mill lade was diverted and the garden laid out in the early 1960s by Miss King. She and Dr Paton have continually developed the garden since then. They specialise in dwarf species Rhododendrons and have developed a system of propagating the plants which has proved particularly successful indeed, some 70% of the plants in the garden have been established in this way. Some of the plants have been propagated from seed from early collections, with the aim of keeping and propagating the early introductions of species.

Contact
References

References

Contributors

  • Historic Scotland